Is more data really want the industry wants?… What will become of the Alberta condo act amendments?… And the office crisis is not here yet…
Is more data really what the industry wants?
There are frequent calls for more data to be made available especially in terms of assessing the potential for corrections in the market but is it really in the best interests of the industry? In some areas of Canada, there is more data available than others. In Nova Scotia for example, two real estate boards voted to allow realtors to catalogue a wide array of information on homes from its sales history to garbage collection days. A question that is often raised though is whether allowing more data to be published online could reduce the necessity for some of the professional services involved in home-buying. If consumers are able to do more of the groundwork themselves will the industry suffer? This December the Competition Bureau and the Toronto Real Estate Board will lock horns over the issue of data availability. A similar situation in the US led to property sites which allow sellers to ‘cut out the middle man’ but figures suggest that the realtors have not lost out significantly and many actually use the sites themselves. In the UK, property listings sites are the ‘Google’ of home buying but again real estate agents have boosted sales by using the sites and can negotiate lower rates for listings than individual sellers can. There is a strong likelihood in this age of online dominance that we will see more online access to data; the challenge is to strike a balance that will allow consumers more information while protecting the industry. Read the full story.
What will become of the Alberta condo act amendments?
Updates to the condominium laws in Alberta are on hold after the province ended the current legislative session and announced a new one that will start in November. It means that the future of Bill 13, the Condominium Property Amendment Act, is in doubt as there is no guarantee that it will be revived in the new session. The original condo act was introduced in the late 60s and despite some adjustments it has not been significantly changed. Advocates of an update say some of the proposals in the amendment act are desperately needed to bring it up to speed with the industry. Read the full story.
Office crisis in major markets not here yet
Despite concerns raised by Avison Young of over-supply in the Toronto office sector, which they say could become a big issue by 2017, there is some good news for the office market. Figures from CBRE Ltd show that in the last quarter the office sector in Toronto and Calgary saw plenty of leasing activity. The national picture is not as buoyant although the nationwide vacancy rate fell to its lowest for two years. CBRE says that deals are happening but there is also some negative activity in the sub-let market where companies are giving up space. As the economy improves there is expectation that hiring should pick up although smarter working practices may mean that office space requirements will trend lower. Read the full story.
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